Tag Archive: PhD


Read

The Ask by Sam Lipsyte.

* Awesome.

* Loved the language.

* Love the story.

* Fantastic!

Finished Reading

Exquisite Agony by Gene Edwards

Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Audio)

Don’t believe me? Check here: http://www.chipmacgregor.com/

Okay, first, I am in love with Tobias Wolff’s reading voice: http://www.newyorker.com/online/2009/05/11/090511on_audio_wolff

As for “Emergency”…

I appreciate the language in it, i.e. “the road we were lost on cut straight through the middle of the world,” “the tang of evergreens stabbing us,” “the only light visible was a streak of sunset flickering below the hem of the clouds.” And they continue. I love the beautiful word choices. I love the big ideas combined with the minute details. I wish I could write like that.

I also appreciate the story–I am reminded of Kerouac’s The Road and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. A never-ending journey and an overt concern for bunnies. I love lines like this: “The bunnies weren’t a problem yet, or they had already been a problem and were already forgotten.” Apparently, I have a fascination with writer’s messing with my sense of time. Or I did have a problem with that, but I don’t now. Or, I am going to have a problem with it, but I don’t yet. =)

But… really… must we have the use of drugs? I find a bit of magic removed from stories when writers rely on the use of a good trip. Maybe it’s that I listened to the stories my dad told about his clients (he’s a substance abuse counselor), or maybe it’s my Baptist upbringing. Either way, I think magic is so much more fun when there is no explanation, or when the explanation is new, different–not drugs. On the other hand, Wolff thinks that because the story is so tightly written that it is different from a normal “tripping” story. I can see that, but I would question the necessity of the drugs.

In other news, my sister is going to save lives. She is in nursing school. 😉

Buy this book:

First, because Allan Shapiro is an amazing author. Second, because I am an amazing editor. And, I am not cocky at all.
Just saying.

I just finished reading Raymond Carver’s “Neighbors”, and I found myself drawn into minimalist fiction once again. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to do with the dialogue, as I don’t remember “The Swimmer” including that much. However, Carver establishes a nice rhythm with it, and it is not expositional.

The pattern of “Neighbors” and “The Swimmer” is similar. It starts with the protagonist completing an activity (i.e. feeding a cat or swimming in his neighbor’s pools) and progressively makes that activity more and more awkward. It makes me wonder if Carver’s other stories are similar or if ever he experiments in a style that is more difficult for him.

Also, I appreciate Carver’s (okay, I’m going to say it)… “handrails”… throughout his story. Actually, I enjoy that his said handrails sometimes lead to nowhere. For example, initially I assumed the cat moved the story forward for Bill. Then, I assumed it was the Stone’s apartment. Towards the end, the reader realizes that it is not just Bill who is changing but also Arlene.  Finally, the key becomes a hindrance for Bill and Arlene not being able to enter the apartment together. Is this because that neither of them were supposed to be in the apartment together? If Bill and Arlene were ever jointly in their neighbor’s apartment, would they have the same experiences as they have had separately? Also, it seems as if they are leaning into each other at the end–realizing that each other is all they have… or, is it that they are leaning into the door to force it open? What will happen on the other side of that door? Why do I care more about what happens on the other side of the door than I do about the main characters?

Overall, 4 gold stars for Carver. Not five because “The Swimmer” is a million times better, and I prefer swimming over apartments.

So, in lieu of getting my PhD in creative writing this year, I am, instead, taking classes through Exchanged Life ministries for lay counseling. Therefore, it is time for my “after class blog posts” which have become as traditional as my “before theology class and/or creative writing workshop day” slurpy runs. I could never sleep on those nights anyway, so a sugar high always seemed appropriate.

This time, I have decided to include within my posts, a song that sums up what I have learned.

With no further ado:

… a whole lot of student essays.

But, I am thinking about incorporating lunar bombings into my latest short story.

In other news: It’s time to start applying to graduate school. Joy!

No Letter

Well… no letter on March 17, my first no guess. I did, however, get information from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Oh, how nice of them. I have one more guess date for a no: April 1st (April Fools, right?). My original guess date for a yes is April 27th; although, I am adding one more there, too: April 6th.

Fingers crossed, pray hard!!!